Aircraft Carriers – What’s the point?

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  • This topic has 35 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by Nat.
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    So, I’ve had a few games with BB’s, Cruisers and DD’s and just venturing into Aircraft and Carriers. But I can’t see their worth if you are playing a standard 8 turn game! I was specifically looking at the HMS Ark Royal, but it gets worse with US and Japanese carriers. The Ark Roal can carry 15 flights, in a standard 8 turn game you can only launch a max of 8 flights (if you don’t plan to recover them) or 4 flights if you plan to recover them as you can only launch OR recover 1 flight per turn. And when you look at the US and IJN their carriers can take 20+ aircraft!!

    So are they only worth it for the scenarios or if you extend the turns in a standard game?



    • This topic was modified 8 months ago by Mick.

    Carriers go with scouting points…. however important notes are:
    flights types & roles are decided when you write the list – in the FAQ
    all carriers start with 2 flights on the table no matter what (CAP) – in the rulebook

    Also in an 8 turn game you will get 6-7 turns of launching flights (no point launching on the last turn) which mean 12-14 flights launched, use  the scramble order to get two in the air a turn.

    You shouldnt have more than an escort carrier (5-8 flights) if you dont have a way of getting AT LEAST 7 scouting points… normal approach is 7 DDs with radar + all aircraft X put in to scouting.

    My last game I had 2 IJN fleet carriers with 35 flights, 2 heavy cruisers (1 mogami 43 refit, 1 normal mogami class with radar + 5 Yogumi’s)  … due to some poor rolling I only got 9 scout points so had half my flights still on the carriers… by the end of the game only my extra fighters where on the carriers

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by Nat.

    What Nat said.

    If you want to bring carriers, and operate them efficiently, you have two options:

    • Bring several CVLs (Light- and Escort carriers), that have a small number of flights on board that you can launch over 3-4 turns with Scramble! orders active. This makes scouting less important.
    • Bring large CVs, accompanied by either lots of scouting aircraft (from cruisers and/or seaplane tenders) or scouting DDs. Radar-equipped DDs are excellent for this purpose.

    Ideally, you want to break the 10-scouting-point barrier, and ensure that your CVs will start with all their flights in the air.

    To be perfectly clear, if you want to bring carriers and not have them be useless, your entire task force should be designed to enable the carriers to do their thing. You cannot use half measures when bringing carriers to the game – you need to commit to building a CV task force.


    Thanks guys, certainly given me something to think about, although I read the rules for scouting, to be honest I dismissed them, as I didn’t want to risk potentially losing ships during a game or have them turn up late to the party. Didn’t even accour to me to use planes from ships etc, only had a couple of games so far.

    @Nat – I’m not sure where the radar comes into play while scouting, I can’t see anything for scouting under the radar trait nor in the scouting section. And 7 DD’s? What size battles are you playing, lol. Aren’t you worried that alot of them if not all won’t get back to the battle?

    – Same question, what size battles are you playing?And Radar equipped DD’s? I swear I have missed something here!!

    The latest FAQ I got was VaS_FAQErrata_September-2021 , is this an updated FAQ or just a supplememnt to an already existing one.

    My first few games have been US v IJN and only been with a 1 or 2 battleships, 3-4 cruisers and about 3 destroyers. But I have just completed my British collection. I guessing whether you take carriers would depend on the points value you agree to play right? What sort of points are you playing before you think about bringing carriers?

    I have the Ark Royal and Eagle, now in a small pts game I wouldn’t even worry about launching if using the HMS Eagle. If I look at the HMS Ark Royal, 15 flights, straight off the bat I have 2 flights in the air, if I use scramble every turn I’ll get another 14 (or the remainder of 13), don’t you guys re-arm? If I look at the scouting method with my collection and going by the looking to get 7+ on scouting I would look to take

    King George V (2 aircraft)

    Duke Of York (2 aircraft)

    Belfast (3 aircraft)

    Neptune (1 aircraft)

    6 Tribals (potentially 6 scouting pts)


    I’d probably be worried about not getting some of the destroyers back until later in the game so I would send 3 scouting giving me a total of potentially 11 scouting pts. But that game would be at least 1910 pts including the AR herself.


    Feedback on the above would be great.

    PS; How much is a tounament game?






    On a similar note, I can’t find anything that stating that you don’t just always start with all your land-based aircraft on the board… is there something I’ve missed, or are carriers just inefficient due to the turn limit?


    Ok Radar Trait (sorry dont have the page number), they add +1 to the scouting roll (so instead of needing a 5+ for the SP its a 4+) it also allows you to re-roll failed rolls… Advanced Radar add +2 instead…. this means instead of needing 3 dice to get a SP on average you are about 75-80% chance of 1 dice = 1 SP

    Not all DDs have Radar Trait, some add it as a refit so you need to look hard – for example with the Japanese only the Yugumo starts with Radar & thats a 1943 ship…

    Now the way it works is if you get 7+ you get to redeploy your ships – that includes any that where put into scouting… so yeah if you are after using carriers you NEED to get 7+ scouting points or you start with just the carrier on the board <eek>….

    Points… in Chelmsford we’re playing about 1500 with 1 or 2 carriers…  that takes us about 3 -4 hours…

    As for re-arming – not really any point as you have to fly back to the carrier, land, in the end phase get a 4+ to rearm, take off, move – so a minium of 4 turns!  Normally what I do is if they surrive attacking a ship I run them round next to a fighter to give the fighter support in a dogfight.  (and try not to get shot down :p)

    8 aircraft in scouting will give you 3 SP on average…if the DDs dont have radar that another 2 (its a 5+ remember) … so thats … not good, as it will leave you with a lot of ships needing a 6 to get back on the table….

    @Indy – Yes Land based flights are deployed as normal… however under WLPS (warlord points system) carrier flights are FREE!… you just pick which ones you want…Then if (like Enoich and me) you work out the points, then (most of the time!) the carriers base ship points are not what you pay for the ship + 5 or 10 points per flight (due to WLPS using rounding its not exact or the same between ships)… eg my Shokaku with refit and 18 flights… the flights alone are 315 points on a 280 point ship….. thats 35 points (3 Jills) for free… plus a 64 hull armour 3+ speed  7 ship with TB 2 & 10 AD of light guns (enough to hurt DDs) also for free…… now factor in that she took no damage but got shot at & only had 4 fighters left on board (with no emeny flights left) I wouldnt call that ineffeciant BUT the list was built around using those flights.

    Oh yeah about the FAQ its updated from the April version.




    As an aside, if you head over to the thread ‘news from the wardroom’ theres a couple of help guides those of us over in the FB group the wardroom have put together to help people pick up the rules (turn guide called cheat sheet, plus 101 guides to adding flights, mtbs & subs to your game).  I’m still messing around with trying to get a balanced approach to a tournament pack, at the moment the missions need consideration as does the balance of fleets… but 1K-1500 is about all you’ll have time for in a one day event

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Nat.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Nat.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Nat.

    Example list that I used last game: – Year 1943 (-THIS IS IMPORTANT! personally this is the most balanced,,, pre 42 Allies struggle post 43 then the axis will due to refits and flights available)

    Akagi, 8 A6M5 Zero Fighters, 9 x Jill Torpedo Bombers – 250
    Shokaku, 1942 refit, 9 A6M5 zeros Fs, 9 x Jill TBs – 280
    6 x Betty TBs (land based) – 60

    Mogami Class, Kuman 1943 refit – 310
    Mogmai Class, Mogmai 1943 refit – 240

    6 x Yugumo Destroyers – 360  (proxied)

    The 2 carriers & 6 Bettys with 4 zeros from the carriers (CAP) deployed,  I then put all the DDs & Cruisers & aircraft X in to scouting…
    Thats 7 Dice with Radar (4+, with a reroll) & 11 dice on a 5+… poor rolling ment I only got 9 SPs….. but with average rolls I should always get 7 or more so my fleet should fully start.

    The Cruisers & DDs were added to the table my deployment zone expanded (didnt use it) and I got 14 more flights to deploy..
    After deployment I then had a 8 dice torpedo fan attack (which all but crippled one of my opponents ships… about average rolling) and left me with 1 shot on all my ships type 93 torpedos.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Nat.

    Damn, I am such a plum sometimes, lol. No wonder I couldn’t find where it says about Radar and A.Radar for scouting, I was looking at those sections under additional rules, lol. Nearly wrote the whole section out so you could see it wasn’t there :/.

    But that is a whole lotta scouting you have going on with that fleet. Certainly gives me something to think about while creating my own. Have you ever had a situation where all you rolls were pants and ended up with one carrier on the table?

    Thanks for all the info you have provided, certainly an eye opener, I think I will run through it all again with my own IJN fleet so I can get my head round it, then start looking at lists for my British fleet.


    Thanks again!



    Deleted, I messed up the points so I need to redo it 🙁

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Mick.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Mick.

    About poor rolls, thats why we say if you are going carriers you must go all in on the scouting table (or deploy everything and hope to get the needed flights off in game) and carriers… only time you dabble your toe is a small escort carrier (think Eagle) where the scouting points are not that important.

    Now the list above I’ve used once against an opponent (and a few times against my other fleet to see how it works) and 7 SP is very very bad rolling

    EDIT – PS, yes the rules arent all in the same place or where you expect them, thats why I sat down during lockdown and wrote the 101 guides and the cheat sheet (with the help of some of the other wardroom members)

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Nat.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Nat.

    I redid my list correctly and here’s what I came up with;

    1500 pts 1941 British Fleet

    HMS Ark Royal 250pts (15 flights)

    HMS Prince of Wales + 1941 refit 625pts (2 aircraft)

    HMS Belfast 130pts (3 aircraft)

    HMS Dido + 1941 refit 95pts (Radar)

    HMS Neptune + 1941 refit 130pts (Radar)

    6 x Tribal Class Destroyers + 1941 refit 270pts (Radar)

    So with the above list I have 7 SC dice with no re-rolls and 8 SC dice with re-rolls. I did a batch of 20 rolls and here are the results.


    Not bad rolling, only 1 out of 20 didn’t get me what I wanted. I just hope any opponents don’t want a pre 1941 battle, lol. Quite a number of options if I take away the upgrades, but I would probably end up losing my radars. If my opponent decides to go pre 1941 then I would ditch most of the upgrades and get in a couple more Tribals.

    Can’t wait to try this out.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Mick.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by Mick.


    Your list above, on the Kumano should that be the 1944 refit and not 1943?

    Also on the Mogami, you took a 1943 refit. that removes 2 turrets! Why would you remove two turrets? Could you just take 2 Betty’s and then you wouldn’t have to removed any turrets or drop hull points. Were the Bettys worth the drop in pooints on teh cruiser?


    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Mick.

    the Mogami refit brings another 4 aircraft for scouting, and as the turrets bearly do anything for me the aircraft are a better propersition :p

    re the Kumano – going off memory (& BattleScribe) as books at homeone of them gets its radar & +1 AA a year earlier than the other… its basically the Radar trait that the list is after.

    The Bettys have a 2 fold reason for being in the list, i) they guarentee that you’ll have 4 fighters (2 CAP off each carrier) + a number of torpedo bomber IF your dice dessert you & you dont get 7+ SPs
    ii) Its 4 DD per torpedo hit…..

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Nat.

    So from your ealier post then it sounds like you rely on alot of scouting then a massive wave of torpedoes? I think because I am still learning the game when I play it is with out a specific method of attack, like concentrating on planes, or torpedoes. But saying that I never really looked into the scouting side of i until this topic and torpedoes seemed too hard to hit a target so never really concentrated on ships that have them. This topic alone has given me a lot to think about while fleet building!!

    I think you might want to check that radar refit though, I just checked again, 3 of the Mogamis had a radar refit but they were all in 1944, but I guess that only matters if you are playing a date specific game 🙂


    RE: Kumano’s refit – Oh well thats what happens when you use BS and dont double check..meh :p …saves 30 points… thats 2 more bettys :p

    Type 93 torpedoes with their extra range are a lot easier to use as 17″ is short range (+0)… but yeah at long range they become hard to use, and at extreme range almost impossible.

    The basic stragergy for IJN is use SP to get planes up in the air & the FAN torpedo rule to unsettle the opponent… then the aircraft mob 2 or 3 large enemy ships in a single turn (over whelm their AA).  With IJN gunnery is a distant 3rd option for trying to sink big ships (torps then flights… then gunnery :p).  Other nations put things in a different order, for example KM will rely more on gunnery becasue they get heavier hitting guns on smaller ships (eg DDs without weak guns AP0 light guns).  And their torpedoes are a 3rd option.

    My general rules are:
    If taking a fleet carrier you need SPs to get the flights up
    Flights (Dive Bombers) are the best thing for taking out Destroyers (never modified)
    Subs & MTBs are best kept for scenario play and not pickup gaming
    Flights work best when theres more of them that target ships AA – even then 3+targets AA is my minimum for attacking a ship.
    Best form of AA is fighters to engage enemy bombers before they reach your fleet.

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